Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2019!
Winner of the 2010 Best Omani Novel Award!
Celestial Bodies is set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman, where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present. Elegantly structured and taut, Celestial Bodies is a coiled spring of a novel, telling of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves.
Translated by Marilyn Booth
‘A richly imagined, engaging and poetic insight into a society in transition and into lives previously obscured.’
-The Man Booker International Prize judges
‘A beautifully written and very moving story.’
‘The novel rewards readers willing to assemble the pieces of Alharthi’s puzzle into a whole, and is all the more satisfying for the complexity of its tale.’
-Starred review, Publishers Weekly
‘Brings a distinctive and important new voice to world literature.’
-The Irish Times
‘A richly layered, ambitious work that teems with human struggles and contradictions, providing fascinating insight into Omani history and society.’
‘It skilfully builds suspense by creating “Aha!” moments as characters come to better understand their pasts.’
-Marcia Lynx Qualey, The National
-Women In Translation
‘Blends the rhythms of daily life with magic and legend.’
‘Alharthi has a strong narrative gift, transporting the reader into all the intimacies of a close-knit family group.’
-The Bay Magazine
‘Finished it in a couple of sittings, addictive, compelling, informative and completely fascinating to read! Definitely recommend it, fingers crossed it appears on the short list too.’
-Fiona Sharp, Independent Book Reviews
‘Well written and multi-faceted, as every book long-listed for the Man Booker International Prize ought to be.’
‘Delivers the reader immediately into the world of the marginal, forgotten, most subaltern sectors of society.’
‘This novel is interesting as a lens through which to view an important time in the transition of Omani society’
-The Wee Review